The importance of confidence in creativity

Confidence is part of creativity that often gets ignored. Yet it’s confidence that allows creative exploration and insights to occur in the first place.

An artist who sits down to paint but is thoroughly convinced that she “isn’t really a painter” is already heading down a path where options for creation are limited. At the end of the day, she’s more inclined to wind up with a blank canvas and a headache than an inspirational piece of artwork.

Many of us who have a powerful creative drive refuse to let it become more than just a few occasional day dreams not because we lack creative capabilities, but because we lack the creative confidence necessary to do the work. We think to ourselves: “I can’t write a novel, I’m not a writer” or similar thoughts. The result is that we end up fulfilling the prophecy. We don’t feel like a writer, so we don’t write, which ensures that we don’t become a writer.

It’s not just creative career moves that a lack of creative confidence hinders too.

A lack of confidence in our abilities or ideas can equate to a complete avoidance of creative ideas or the vital act of experimenting.

Like the amateur who only dreams of being a creative writer, someone who doesn’t believe they have what it takes to truly be creative avoids generating original ideas. As a result, they fulfill that prophecy too: they don’t come up with creative ideas, they remain uncreative.

An essential part of creativity is then to “fake it ‘till you make it.” Belief is a crucial part of being receptive to the insights and inspiration that propel creativity.

You need confidence to be truly creative.

To quote Tom and David Kelley from their book Creative Confidence:

Creativity, far from requiring rare gifts and skulls, depends on what you believe you can do with the talents and skills you already have.